Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

To Theme or Not to Theme

I apologize for missing my deadline. I got caught up in a Christmas sewing project and by the time I came up for air it was almost bedtime. But I didn’t totally forget about you!

When I was looking in the Forum at the December Challenges I was drawn to the Mini Kit provided by Neia Scraps. Although it’s called Christmas Spirit and has a Christmas-y theme I knew I would be using it instead to scrap one (or more) of my DD’s wedding photos (from July) because the palette is PERFECT for them. So I downloaded the kit and created a layout that has nothing to do with the kit’s theme. And that started me thinking about how often others might use a themed kit for a layout about something completely unrelated. I do it fairly often, and figured we could talk about that a bit today. (Note to Glee… the light source is almost directly centred over the layout, but slightly left and up. The frame is holding the paper star down but the points are free.)

 

For this layout I used a Valentine’s Day kit, the GingerBread Ladies‘ collab Smitten,  to scrap a dog photo. (I know, I do a lot of layouts with my dogs front and centre. What can I say?)

Then I took a (very quick) tour through the Gallery.

Gingerscrapper dshepard created a layout with a kit from Magical Scraps Galore with a candy theme; it’s called Sweet as Candy. The subject of her layout is a visit to a theme park.

This pretty example from honeybee was created with Harvest Sunrise from Mag’sGraphics. No harvest anywhere in sight… but lots of love!

Then I found this cute layout from snojewel about pirates. She used a motivational kit from the GingerBread Ladies called Love Yourself.

And then I found this one from teamkobza about a fun day she had with some little people, although I doubt they were in Iowa. The kit she used is Travelogue Iowa from Connie Prince.

So here’s a challenge for all y’all. I’d like you to create a layout using a kit with an obvious theme but about something unrelated. It’ll broaden your horizons!

Sneak Peeks November 21st 2019

Happy Thursday!!! We are one week away from Thanksgiving! I can’t believe how fast the year has gone!! Our designers have been hard at work to bring you some excellent new releases! Let’s take a peek!

From Dagilicious

From Tinci

From JoCee

From Lindsay Jane

From Aimee Harrison

From Alexis Design Studio

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Paper-to-Digi 3D Emboss

I’m back!! I’ve recovered about 85% from my unfortunate tumble and should be all there again soon. Thank you all so much for your kind wishes for my speedy healing, I’m positive it helped. (I think that’s my post with the most comments ever!)

Before we get started, I want to apologize for the lack of consistency with the images I’m sharing with you. I’m still not happy with the way this laptop does screenshots and wish I could go back to how my dead one did it, where I could hover over a control so you could actually see what I was selecting. But alas. Add that to the changes WordPress has made to their blogging software, and now I’m also having to resize every image before I write the text. It’s a real drag!

Okay, so. Another suggestion I got from calgirl (Steph) via YouTube video was to show you all how to create a deep 3D embossed look with digital tools. I had to play around a bit to make this work the way it looked in my head, and I think I succeeded. I’m working against a solid cardstock background using a nice blue one from Ooh La La ScrapsPocket Full of Sunshine. I’ll also be using a brush – on a separate layer, of course!

The brush I used is from Brusheezy, one of a free set called Frosted Flakes. (linked) I’ll use it at full size. The Opacity isn’t totally important, as you can see it’s set at 65%. I’m going to stack the brush until it looks dark and sharp enough for the technique.

Here’s what the first click created. I think it has a lot of 3D potential, don’t you?

I kept clicking until I had an almost solid image, a total of 5 clicks. I used white to make the steps easy to see as we go along.

This is another non-essential step. I enlarged my brush image to make everything more easily visible. You do you!

Then I made 3 copies of the brush layer. At this point, I thought I’d use them all, but I ended up only using 3 total. It’s always better to have something and not need it rather than need it and not have it. Onward.

I turned the visibility of the copy layers off, because this is a bottom-up technique.

My next step was to click on Styles and choose the Bevel set.

For the bottom brush layer I used the Simple Pillow Emboss option.

You can see that there’s some texture there now. I clicked on the fx icon on that bottom layer to bring up the Style Settings menu. Then I added an Outer Glow of 13 pixels at 50 % Opacity. The Bevel is set at 27 pixels. Now, this is a matter of taste, and I found that the Outer Glow added some depth that wasn’t there with just the Bevel.

With the second brush layer now visible, I CTRL/CMD>clicked on the Layer Thumbnail (the little picture on the left side of the column) in the Layers Panel to Select the edges of the brush. Selecting an object brings up the marching ants.

To enhance the 3D effect, I decided to shrink the second brush layer a bit by Select>Modify>Contract.

I opted to Contract by 10 pixels, meaning that the outline of the brush will be moved toward the inside by 10 pixels all the way around.

Then I Inverted the Selection by Select>Inverse (or CTRL/CMD>Shift>I)

And then I Cut away the outer piece of the Brush layer that was now Selected through Inverting. Edit>Cut (or CTRL/CMD>X)

Just like on the first brush layer, I used a Bevel, this time the Simple Emboss as shown.

See the new texture that adds?

I also tweaked this layer, adding an Outer Glow of 29 pixels at 49% and adjusted the amount of Bevel to 15 pixels.

Now on to the third brush layer. I think you know what’s coming. Select the outline again.

This time Select>Modify>Contract to 15 pixels.

And then Invert the Selection (CTRL/CMD>Shift>I)…

and CTRL/CMD>X away the Selected area.

Hit it with the Simple Emboss Bevel.

Adjust the Style Settings to add an Outer Glow of 29 pixels at 50% and the Bevel at 30 pixels.

I realized that I’d gotten the effect I was looking for without that 4th brush layer. I could have left the resulting image as it was, which would look like a very detailed 3D white paper die cut, but I wanted to see how it would look as a true embossing of the blue paper. I opted to add a copy of the paper layer on top of all my brush layers, in case I changed a Blend mode for the paper and lost the original blue. Here I’ve toned down the Opacity of the top cardstock layer to 78% and it looks pretty much like I’d expect an embossed blue cardstock to look.

I don’t know if doing this step made much of a difference to the overall effect, but I added another paper layer and changed the Blend Mode to Color. What do you think?

Have a look through your brush collection to see what you have that might work for this and give it a whirl!

Sneak Peeks November 14th 2019

 

Happy Thursday! We are two weeks from Thanksgiving! The holidays are upon us! Our designers have some great new releases for you this week! Let’s take a peek!

From Dagilicious

From Tinci

From Aimee Harrison

From Miss Fish

From Clever Monkey Graphics

No photo description available.

Image may contain: food

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Tutorial…

I’m really sorry to report that I took a tumble down a flight of stairs last night and this week’s tutorial was a casualty. I hit the side of my head on a sharp corner on a ledge as I was falling and concussed myself a little. I also sprained a wrist and two fingers. No broken bones, lucky for me, but half my face is technicolour all around the laceration the corner left. Hubby said, “Nice shiner!” when I got up this morning. I should be back to normal in a few days and next week’s tutorial won’t disappoint!

Jan

Sneak Peeks November 7th 2019

Happy Thursday! Are you ready for the weekend? Are you ready for a peek of what’s releasing tomorrow?? I hope the new releases from our amazing designers spark your creativity this weekend! Let’s check them out!

From Mags Graphics

 

From Down this Road

From Lindsay Jane

From JoCee

From Miss Fish

From Tinci

From CathyK

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Another Paper- to Digi-Technique – Stenciling

After last week’s tutorial came out, I got a really nice private message from calgirl (aka Steph). It read, in part: “I love the tutorials you have done on the digital version of a paper-scrapping technique.
I have been trying to think of other techniques it would be fun to see – how do you do this. I happened upon this you tube video which has many ideas but I was particularly interested in the stenciling concept.” Well, I checked out the YouTube video she linked in her message – it was a speedy card-making video (more about that later) and I knew just what would work to create the look she was after. Below you’ll find three ways to use digital scrapbooking elements as stencils! The basics are the same for all three, but the looks are all quite different. It’s a lot easier than it looks, and definitely less messy!

The most obvious element I could think of – and find quickly – for this technique is a doily. I chose one from Lindsay Jane‘s kit Dogs and Puppies. It’s pretty, and has some nice open areas that could work nicely for stenciling. I opened a new 12×12 canvas on my workspace and dropped the doily onto it.

Next, I decided on some colours and got them set. Then I opened up my Brush tool. The Basic Brushes set that comes with the software will work for this method so I chose a large, soft, round brush. I’m working on the layer UNDERNEATH the doily, but don’t worry, it’s going to work exactly like I want it to. If you recall, working on a separate layer with your brushes gives you a lot of options such as simple resizing, repositioning and adjusting Opacity. And you can copy the brush layer(s) as many times as you want.

Here you can see that I have the layer at the bottom of the panel active.

I centered the brush over the doily and gave it a single click. if the screenshot was bigger and clearer, you’d see the doily sitting on top of the brush layer.

With the doily layer turned off, this is what I see.

I decided the brush layer just wasn’t… enough. So I Copied it once (CTRL/CMD>J) then I made the copy brush bigger, to 120% of the original. By doing that, I deepened the Opacity of the original layer and pushed the softer edge further out.

Before I moved on, I Merged the two brush layers together.  (CTRL/CMD>E)

Keeping the brush layer active, I CTRL/CMD>clicked inside the layer thumbnail for the doily – the image inside the box on the doily layer. That Selects the edges of the doily, and produces the marching ants.

The next step is to Edit>Cut the doily area away from the brush layer. (CTRL/CMD>X)

It’s a bit hard to see in the screenshot but the area where the doily laid over the brush has been removed and the transparent background shows through. The doily layer is turned off.

Here’s a much closer look at it. As you can see, there’s no doily texture showing, just the outline of where it was.

I looked at the results for awhile and decided I wanted the edges to be just a smidge sharper. So I added another layer on top of the brush layer. (Doily is still turned off.)

This time when I Selected the outline of the doily, I chose to add an outline Stroke. I wish there was a keyboard shortcut for that, I use it a lot. But there isn’t. Edit>Stroke (Outline Selection) has to do.

I used the same colour as for the brush layer. The outline doesn’t have to be too bold, so 2 pixels on the outside of the selection will work. Why put the stroke on a separate layer? It’s all about control!

I’m still thinking about how to remove the overspray area around the outside of the doily outline. I think I have it figured out, but will need to play with it a bit more. Once I’ve got it down pat, I’ll edit this post to include the details of how I did it.

Okay. Let’s go back to the beginning and look at another way of doing it. Because you know there’s always more than one way of doing most things.

For this example I used a sharp-edged round brush from the Basic Brushes set that I could size to fit the doily exactly. It’s at full Opacity too.

But here’s where the fun starts! I changed my foreground colour to that fuchsia/magenta colour you might have noticed in the previous screenshots. Then I chose the Gradient tool, which is right below the Eraser tool. This tool has a few options that make it very useful. Because I’m working with a circle, I chose the Radial setting. I clicked on the centre of the doily image and dragged my cursor up to the top left corner of the canvas and let go there. That tells the tool which way to grade the colour. I could have chosen any point on the canvas for either action and the gradient would go “from here to there”. If you look closely, you can see the pink is darkest at the centre and fades away as it moves from the centre out. Notice too how the turquoise has changed to periwinkle.

I used the same steps to remove the area of the gradient layer where the doily covers it. I don’t know how many of you can see it, but the doily layer is turned off, and it doesn’t matter! The software will still select the edges even when YOU can’t see it. And, of course, the gradient layer is separate from the others.

Now, with this method, it’s super-easy to remove the overspray area. I used the Elliptical Marquee tool to pull out a perfect circle. The tool’s settings let me go with a Fixed Ratio of 1:1, which creates a circle shape. The hard part is getting the size right. It took me 5 tries to get it right.

The Selected area needs to be Inverted so that you’re cutting the part of the gradient layer OUTSIDE the circle away, not what’s inside. You can either Select>Inverse or CTRL/CMD>SHIFT>I to make that happen.

Then, just like before we’ll Cut it off. Edit>Cut or CTRL/CMD>X.

There! The only pink area is inside the circle.

I liked how it looked, but thought I could make it even better so I Copied the gradient layer and dropped the Opacity down to 70%. Pretty?

One more! I might have mentioned that I have LOTS of brushes. Many of them were freebies or challenge-related, but the ones I get free from Brusheezy are fabulous. One of these sets is the 20 Spray set. I had to load the brush set to be able to use it, since I haven’t had the opportunity to load them all on my new laptop, but that’s easy enough to do. I wish I could still screenshot the selection bars but haven’t figured that out either! I changed colour to this purple and hit my canvas with it. It’s a different look for sure. I Cut the doily out of the brush layer too.

I changed my brush, made it smaller and changed my foreground colour back to fuchsia. Then I randomly added some pink to the mix. On its own layer. ALWAYS!

After Cutting away the doily this is where I was.

Then I thought, how would it look with some green?

Some random hits with a third brush from the same set gave me this… before I did anything else to it.

I thought the green was too much so I toned it down to 35%.

And then for fun, I plopped a black spider web paper from Just So Scrappy‘s Spookalcious kit behind it. (I erased the big splats from the purple layer too.) I think it looks gloriously boho!

What do you think? Something you might try? Obviously, you can use anything that might work as a stencil with this technique, it doesn’t have to be a doily. I had fun with it, and I know you will too.

Now, about the video… the host showed off a paper-scrapping tool that caught my eye. It’s called a Misti (Most Incredible Stamp Tool Invented)… anybody familiar? It allows for perfect placement of stamps on just about any size and shape of paper, and for restamping the same image multiple times for more hefty outlines both with acrylic and unmounted rubber. Well, I decided I wanted one, since I do make cards and have a big collection of acrylic stamps. So I looked for it on Amazon… and nearly died when I saw the price! $138 seems like a lot to me for something so simple in concept. So I kept looking. I found some YouTube videos that showed a couple of similar products, but they had to be withdrawn from the market over patent infringement claims. Sounds like I was going to have to suck it up and pay the $$… until I found a seller who had a couple of the taboo knockoffs for $37 each. It arrived today and will work beautifully! I’ll have to wait to use it though. It has to go into storage with all the rest of my paper crafting stuff. To be continued!

Sneak Peeks October 31st 2019

Happy Halloween!!! I am beat from trick or treating in the 85 degree Florida weather. Hopefully Florida realizes it’s fall soon since it’s November tomorrow. This is a jam packed sneak peek filled with some Buffet sneak peeks!

From Wimpychompers

From Aimee Harrison

From JB Studio

And lets take a peek of  the Buffet!

Check back tomorrow to see the full line of Buffet products and new releases!

Tutorial Tuesday (PSE and TypeFace 2)

For all the Mac Users – Unlocking Secrets in Your Fonts

I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d get a tutorial out this week. I made a flying visit to BC to check in on my parents (they’re both fine, thank Heaven) over the weekend and didn’t get home until early this morning. But looking through my mailbox led to this!

I was really pleased that last week’s tutorial on using the hidden extras in our font files was so well-received. I had fun putting it together and hoped it would be a good choice. A comment from Carina got me thinking about what might be a suitable, similar font manager for Mac users that could work for the tut the way MainType does. And darned if I didn’t find one! It’s called TypeFace 2, and like MainType they have a free version and a paid version. (If you click on the software name above, it’s linked to the app store.) Of course, the user interface is different, but it has the same options. You can customize your tags so they make sense for you, you can move similar fonts into folders so you can quicken your search for the right one, and you can preview the fonts using the text you’re planning to put into your layout.

Here’s an example of a customized preview.

To be useful for finding, selecting and using the special characters that come with the fancy fonts, there needs to be a way to access them. I will admit that I didn’t test it, but reading the description of the app and some reviews, I’m pretty sure it’s going to work in a very similar way. One other benefit to this one is that it’s available for both Mac AND PC!

Now, for your viewing pleasure, some awesome (totally free) Hallowe’en fonts and dingbats!

This one I found at FontSpace.

The rest are from my second-favourite site, Dafont. You can grab this one here.

This is a bit of a variation on a theme, perfect for bold titles. Get it here.

This font isn’t quite a Hallowe’en one, but it’s very pretty, and the curlicues are reminiscent of the tendrils on pumpkin vines. It’s here.

I like this one for its simplicity, and its slight grunge. Find it here.

What do you think of the Gothic look of this one? Look for it here.

I think this would make the most interesting border on a Hallowe’en layout. You can find it here.

Happy haunting!

Sneak Peeks October 24th 2019

 

Happy Thursday!!! Let’s see what our amazing designers have coming out tomorrow and how our amazing CT team used them!

From JoCee

From Tinci

From Dagilicous

From Miss Fish

 

From Aimee Harrison